Private security guards working for Blackwater USA participated in clandestine CIA raids against suspected insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Blackwater's role points to a much deeper connection between the company and the spy agency than has been previously disclosed and raises concerns over the legalities of involving contractors in the most sensitive operations conducted by the U.S. government.
The "snatch and grab" raids took place regularly between 2004 and 2006, the Times reported, when the insurgency in Iraq was escalating and security throughout the country was deteriorating.
A U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that Blackwater provided security and moved around with CIA teams on missions in war zones, but he denied they performed CIA missions.
CIA spokesman George Little said, "This agency, like many others, uses contractors in roles that complement and enhance the skills of our own work force, just as American law permits."
"Agency staff officers have the decision-making authority and bear responsibility for results," Little said.
Blackwater, based in Moyock, N.C., changed its corporate name to Xe Services after a series of use-of-force controversies, including a September 2007 shooting in Baghdad by five company security guards that left 17 civilians dead.
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:43 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 9:50 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 9:51 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 10:00 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 10:41 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by itsmesteph11 at 10:41 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by yourspecialkid at 10:49 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Erik Prince, head of US security firm Blackwater, ‘was CIA operative’
Mr Prince was recruited by the agency in 2004 and ran intelligence-gathering operations in an unnamed Axis of Evil country until only two months ago, but was partially “outed” by leaks that followed a closed-door briefing of congressional leaders by Leon Panetta, the CIA director, last summer. Mr Prince regards those leaks as a betrayal: “When it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under a bus,” he said.
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 10:51 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 11:05 AM on Dec. 11, 2009
Mr Prince, aside from his work in Iraq, set up America’s closest forward operating base to the Pakistani border in Afghanistan, and helped to train a CIA assassination team that hunted an alleged senior al-Qaeda financier in Germany, and included A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, on its list of targets, according to Vanity Fair magazine.
Sounds like he was doing following through on his mission.
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 11:06 AM on Dec. 11, 2009